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28% of Americans are Free to Smoke Under Recreational Legalization Laws, Up From 4% in 2012. More Legalization in the Works

Marijuana Has Truly Gone Mainstream

In just seven short years, cannabis legalization has spread from a tiny slice of the overall American population (4%) to over a quarter of the country (28%). Better yet, over 98% of Americans are covered under either recreational or medicinal use laws.

Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New Hampshire all have bills pending in their respective state legislatures. The particulars of each bill differ regarding how much you can legally possess and how much you can grow in your own home, but they all make recreational cannabis use legal.

State Marijuana Laws in 2019

Our map shows current state laws and recently-approved ballot measures that makes marijuana legal for medical or recreational purposes. States with limited medical marijuana laws, such as those only permitting use of CBD oil, are not considered to have adopted broad medical marijuana laws. Final rules for recently-passed medical marijuana laws are pending in some states.

Things look to change come January 2, 2020. That’s the date several state legislatures go back into session, likely leading to a flurry of new bills. Connecticut, Arizona and New York will all likely see significant progress in getting recreational cannabis bills either passed or put in front of voters via a resolution.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Idaho, South Dakota and Nebraska will likely see very little to no progress on almost any kind of cannabis-related bill other than a possible ballot measure in Nebraska. These states represent the not-quite-2% of the nation that has no access to legal cannabis, even for medicinal use. Nebraska has decriminalized small amounts for personal use but legislators in the state have shown almost no interest in taking the next step in creating a medical Marijuana program, refusing to vote on a bill which would have allowed it earlier this year.

When will voters get the chance to make their wishes known ?

The good news for those living in states without recreational cannabis is that when legislators or voters actually get to vote on making it a reality, it usually passes and it goes into effect relatively quickly. Illinois passed a recreational cannabis bill in June and it goes into effect January 1st. It’s very possible residents of New York and New Jersey, having been pegged as two states with the best chance of passing a new recreational legalization bill, will be able to legally enjoy cannabis by January 1, 2021.

With polls showing that 66% of Americans support making marijuana use legal and around 90% support for allowing medical marijuana, lawmakers are increasingly getting the message that constituents want them to act on sensible and humane marijuana policies.

Ballot initiatives look to be likely in several states (most likely in Arizona and Maryland) for the November 2020 election. Once voters get the chance to make their wishes known, the majority of the time, legalization comes out on top.

CBD Oil Legal in 2019?

Because of its frequent association with marijuana, CBD has experienced a frequently confusing and at times contradictory legal history in the USA.

Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”), which was then signed into law at the end of the year. The Farm Bill removes hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, expands hemp’s commercial cultivation, and legalizes hemp production on Indian tribal land and in U.S. territories. Hemp regulations now belong under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) instead of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Since hemp oil now is legal, most presume that CBD derived from hemp oil also is legal. However, the regulations do not explicitly extend legal status to hemp extracts.

FDA is currently evaluating CBD’s safety. For now, its stance is that products that add CBD to food or label CBD as a dietary supplement are not legal for interstate commerce.

These states honor the changes in the 2018 Farm Bill completely — in these states, you’re free to purchase, possess, and use hemp-derived products including CBD oils and CBD capsules.

  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • The District of Columbia
  • Vermont
  • Washington

These states allow citizens to buy hemp-derived products but there are some caveats. We consider these states a legal grey area, which is more common than you’d think. It can take a long time for local governments to adapt to changes on a federal level. Right now, we’re caught in the transition period for these states. States like Michigan or Nebraska, CBD is both legal and illegal. The legislature in these states has yet to work out the details of the recent 2018 Farm Bill changes — making it unlikely to be able to buy CBD in these states anywhere but online.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Differences Between Marijuana & Hemp

Hemp Marijuana
Cannabis sativa L.
Cannabis sativa L.
Legal Definition Cannabis sativa plants with less than 0.3% THC by dried weight Cannabis sativa plants with more than 0.3% THC by dried weight
Psychoactivity Completely non-psychoactive (doesn’t produce a high) May be psychoactive (may produce a high)
Federal Legal Status No drug scheduling (completely legal) Schedule I drug (completely illegal)
State Legal Status Legal in most states, with some exceptions Legal in select states recreationally and most states with medical approval. In Some states it remains completely illegal.
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28% of Americans are Free to Smoke Under Recreational Legalization Laws, Up From 4% in 2012. More Legalization in the Works


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